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Full text of "An address to the members of the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society at their annual meeting, May 28, 1802"

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£@a£Ta$ufett$ Charitable fire Society, 



MAY 28, 1802. 

by ;glc!in Kurnev 

Methinks already from this chemic flame, 

I iee a city of more precious mold; 

Rich as the town which givj^ s the Indies name, 

With filver pav’d, anch’^l divine with gold. 

Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis* 

His life was gentle ; and the elements 
So mix’d in him, that Nature might Hand up 
And fay to all the World, THIS WAS A MA|[ 

Shakes? 2 aR- 

corns d&tttotu 

, o - ^ 

1 o 0 3 * 



Mott of SCijanttg* 

AT a meeting of the Government of the Majfaclufetts Charitable Fire 
Society, on Friday, May a8th, 1802— Voted, That the Vice President, 
Josiah Quincy, Efq. and Mr. James White, be a Committee to wait 
on the Honorable John Quincy Adams, Efq to return him the thank* 
of the Government for his Addrefs, delivered before the Society this day, 
and requeft of him a Copy for the prefs. A true copy from the Records, 


f .... " -" , . . : -- - - - - - - • 










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in 2018 with funding from 
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https ://§/addresstomembersOOadam 

iylddve,jd, Sfo 9 

The general advantages arifing from focial 
inftitutions for charitable purpofes ; the peculiar 
utility of that, whofe annual meeting for difcourf- 
ing on thefe topics, and for recommending them 
by the more powerful eloquence of example this 
day returns $ the dangers, to which all populous 
cities are liable by the calamities of fire ; the ag¬ 
gravations of thefe dangers, to which we, my fel¬ 
low-citizens, are expofed, from the periihahle ma¬ 
terials of which too great a proportion of our ha¬ 
bitations is conftructed ; the intrinfic excellence 
of that eminently chriftian virtue, Charity ; and 
the important benefits of its exertions in thofe ca¬ 
fes of diftrefs for the relief or which, your fociety, 
gentlemen, was formed : Thefe are the themes 
to which your attention is naturally, and ufually 
called, on occafions fimilar to the prefent. They 
have been treated with fuch various ingenuity by 
thofe members of the fociety, who have hereto¬ 
fore addreffed you upon thefe anniverfaries, that 
without a departure from the fubjedts themfelves. 

cfd / ^ 


it would be difficult to avoid the repetition of 
many arguments, and the recurrence to many 
fades, already urged upon your notice, in preced¬ 
ing years. Such repetition, however, I truft will 
neither furprize, nor difpleafe you : For if origi¬ 
nality of thought ipight leave on your minds im- 
preffions more immediately pleafing, the valuable 
objeds of your inflitution will more probably be 
advanced by faying over again with the fandion 
of your authority, what has already more than 
once been faid in the fame manner. 

one of your great and laudable purpofes is 
that of flimulating genius, to ufeful difeoveries 
tending to fecure the lives and property of our 
fellow men from deftrudion by fire. But the 
difeoveries of genius are feldom the refult of ex¬ 
ternal ftimulus : genius is of an eccentric charad- 
er; of a reflive temper ; difdainful of guidance 
or controul, he refills all influence from without; 
he deferts every path not traced by himfelf. Nor 
is it your defign to afk of genius, affiflance, 
which even he is incompetent to afford. In vain 
would genius hand upon the beach ar 4 d forbid the 
waves of qcean to approach his feet : In vain 
would he bid the flowers of fpring to bloom on 
Zembla’s eternal fnows : In vain would he com¬ 
mand golden haryefts to fmiie on Zara’s fcorch- 
ing fands : la vain would he refill or evade the 
laws of nature, and pf nature’s God— All his at- 



tempts to render permanent what they have pro¬ 
claimed periflnble are but the memorials of his 
impotence. Let us then not be fanguine to in¬ 
dulge hopes of obtaining much relief from the 
difeoveries of genius. It is by reiterating with 
unwearied hand, the exhibition of truths long 
known but not fulhciently felt, by redoubling line 
upon line, by crowding precept upon precept, by 
wearing down the garb of perluafton to the very 
tatters of importunity, that your affociation will 
mod effe&ually contribute to arreft the progrefs 
of defolation, and difarm the fury of the element. 
If we fpurn the long tried, faithful fhield of pru¬ 
dence, with what authority can we call upon ge¬ 
nius for new devices to fupply its place ? Is it not 
like the Countryman in the Fable, who appeals 
for aid to Hercules, when he fliould apply his own 
Aioulder to the wheel ? Alas ! my friends, we have 
here lefs occafion for the inventive faculties of ge¬ 
nius, than for the warning voice of experience. 
We want lirmnefs rather than fancy, diferetion 
rather than difeovery, ftubborn perfeverance in 
demonftrated right, rather than eager fearch of 
ingenious novelty. 

it was the higheft boaft of Auguiius Csefar, in 
his old age, that he had found the Roman me¬ 
tropolis of brick, and fliould leave it of marble. 
Fellow-townfmen ! We fliould blufli to confefs 
that our ambition extends not even to leave our 

capital where Auguflus began with his. He glo¬ 
ried in the progrefs of improvements, from fafety 
to ornament; and can you hefitate to perfift in 
advancing from danger to fafety ? The motives 
which impelled him to fuperaddthe polifh of mag¬ 
nificence to the comfortable dwellings of his peo¬ 
ple, were contracted and felfifh, in comparifon 
with thofe which ought to ftimulate you. He 
gave fplendor to the city for the fake of its re¬ 
flected lufire upon his own fame. Yourperfonal 
inducements are of keener edge than his. It is 
for fafety, not for glory, for life itfelf, or at leaft 
its moil eflential comforts,* and not for the bubble 
reputation that you are contending. But you 
have the further incentive of the moil generous 
focial paffions. In fecuring yourfelves, you fecure 
your fellow-citizens, your neighbours, your 
friends : You have the double enjoyment of par¬ 
taking the benefit, and feeing, it fhared by others. 


You are aiming not only to enlarge the fphere of 
your own gratifications, but to add high value to 
the inheritance of pofterity. This fpur will be 
peculiarly pointed and forcible to your minds, 
when you confider that it is not mere property, 
but the ineftimable bldling of fecurity ; not 
merely more durable tenements, but more ra- 
tional peace of mind; not merely riches of Hate 


and brick, which like other riches may take to 
themfelves wings and fly away, but the riches of 



quiet and contentment; the infallible increafe 
of pofitive happinefs, by the removal of conftant 
danger, arid continual anxiety ; the CJ fober cer¬ 
tainty of waking bids,” that you are adding to 
the birth-right of your children. It is this, gen¬ 
tlemen, in which con fills the mod important ex¬ 
cellence of your inftitution. Your immediate 
charities, as they tend to the relief of exifling 
nailery, are amiable and refpeftable; but the ef¬ 
fects of your influence to fecure the efficacy of 
thofe falutary laws which are to remove the prin¬ 
cipal caufe of our danger, will make you the ben¬ 
efactors of pofterity, and entitle you to the grati¬ 
tude of ail future ao;es. Fellow-citizens ! You 
who are prefent here merely as ipectators, and 
are not members of the aflociation,is this exagge¬ 
rated praife ? Bring the queftion home to your 
own hearts, and the fociety may confidently await 
your decifion. Open your Province-Law book, 
arid the very fifft Statute you will find under the 
Charter of William and Mary, is an act to forbid 
the erection of wooden buildings in this town, 
upon the penalty of having them demolifhed as 
common nuifances. This lav/, paffed in the year 
1692, one hundred and ten years ago, refers to 
the exiftence, and the violation of a {till more an- 
tient Statute to the fame effect, enacted under 
the former Charter. The preamble, in the ener¬ 
getic, though fomewhat antiquated language of 



that day, affigns the many great deflations and ruinsby 
fires, which wooden buildings had occafioned, as 
the reafon of its injunctions. The town had then 
exifted about fixty years. Neceffity and not 
choice had ufed at firft fuch materials as it could 
find. The want of prefent fhelter had been more 
urgent than that of a fafe and permanent habita¬ 
tion ; and who, after confidering the fituation of 
our venerable forefathers at the firft fettlement of 
the country, fliall dare to arraign them becaufe 
they provided firft for the moft immediate pref- 
fure, and left the reft to times of greater cafe and 
convenience, or to the lefs burthened induftry 
and wifdom of their dependents ? In the courfe 
of fixty years, however, experience had proved 
that a wooden city is a vaft tinder-box, kindling 
at every tranfient fpark ; an immenfc mafs of 
phial’d phofphorus, blazing out by mere commu¬ 
nication with the air. It had been the fource of 
fo many great defolations and ruins, that the Le- 
gifiature once and again endeavoured to correct 
the mifchief by thefe fharp and biting Statutes.— 
Now, fuppofe, fellow-citizens, that inftead of that 
pufillanimous indulgence, which fuffers bad habits 
to prevail over good laws, the Legiflature had 
uniformly and ftremioufiy maintained that refo- 
lution and perfeverance, which eventually fecure 
the triumph of good laws over bad habits : Sup- 
pofe fuch a fociety as that in whofe name I now 


enjoy the privilege of addrefllng you, had then 
exifted,to promote by united deeds and counfels,by 
public annual admonition, by the weight of perfo- 
nal influence,and by the impulfe of perfonal exam¬ 
ple, the full accomplifhment of thefe wife regula¬ 
tions ; what would have been the confequences 
to you ? That you, and your fathers, would long 
fiiice have poflefled habitations of durable and in- 
combuftible materials : That, of flxteen fires, * 
“ pre-eminent on the black regifter of deftruc- 
tion, 5 ’ which glare horrible upon your annals flnce 
the date of the law, and innumerable others, 
deeply calamitous, though flalhing lefs confpicu- 
ous from the difmal gloom, probably not one 
would have happened : That at this time, you 
might all, with fecure and eafy minds, nightly 
commit yourfelves, your property, the children 
of your love, the wives of your bofoms, to the 
protection of Providence, without carrying into 
the arms of flumber, the anxious and too well 
grounded fear, that before your eyes fliall open 
to the fucceeding dawn, all, all may be fwept 
away by the relentlefs fury of the flames. But 
no fuch fociety was extant: The fword of the 
law, for want of a hand to wield it, idly rufted in 
its fcabbard ; and feven years afterwards we find 
the Legiflature, kill bearing teftimony, againfl: 
the pernicious practice of building in wood, but 

* V. Mr. Welles’s Addrefs to the Society. 

mitigating the penalty as too fevere, becaufe it 
had been fo generally fet at defiance. 

to prefcribe a flight punifhment where an 
heavy one has proved ineffectual, is not in this 
world the belt expedient to enfure fubmiflion ; 
and the fifty pounds fine, fubffituted inftead of 
the demolition of the building, was made the 
mere foot-ball of public fcorn, until it fank into 
perfect oblivion. 

An ingenious traveller who has given an ac¬ 
count of Mount iEtna, remarks that although 
the city at the foot of the mountain had twice 
been deftroyecl by eruptions of the volcano, yet 
the inhabitants, by fome Jirange infatuation , could 
not be prevailed upon to change their fituation, 
but rebuilt their city upon the fame fpot .—If this 
conduct of the Catanians appeared the height of 
abfurdity to Brydone, what would he have faid 
of a people who fhould perfift in retaining and 
furnifhing fuel for an /Etna within their walls ; 
for an iEtna, the work of their own hands ; who 
after buffering more from fires, than the neigh¬ 
bourhood of a burning mountain ever 'inflicted, 
fhouid cling to their bubble and ftraw, as if re¬ 
luctant at the thoughts of parting from the fre¬ 
quent hght of hideous ruin and combuftion.— 
At leaf! the Catanians might plead in their jufti- 
fication that attachment tender and fublime, that 
love ffronger than death, to the place of their 

T "* 

1 J 

nativity, which vibrates in every fibre of a feel¬ 
ing heart, which is intermingled in every affec¬ 
tion of a virtuous mind.—But clapboards and 
fliingles ! What myflei ious fafcinations can they 
poffets ? What fympathetic fenfibilities can they 
infpire ? Why truly, they are at firff coff the 
cheapeft materials—as if the lofs of millions in 
future danger were no counterbalance to the 
favmg of hundreds in prefent expence ! This 
computation my friends, ought never to have 
been polled from the wafte-book of folly.—This 
logic ought forever to moulder on the (helves of 
exploded madnefs. For more than a century 
and an half no individual in this town, has been 
compelled to build for want of an immediate 
fhelter over his head, and nothing lefs can excufe 
making parfimony your architect, and devafta- 
tion your inheritance. 

Gentlemen, I have dwelt too long upon 
this topic—The fenfe of the legiflature, and of 
the town have again recently been expreffed 
upon the fubj ect—wholefome laws have again 
been enacted to relieve us gradually from our 
greateft dangers of fire, and I truft the fpirit of 
the town and the firmnefs and vigilance of' its 
officers will carry them into complete execution. 
Years ; probably many years muff elapfe before 
we can hope to obtain the practicable portion of 
fecurity—Our tenements, fuch as they are, muff 

Hand, until gradual decay, individual confent, or 
the cruel hand of calamity Ihall remove them— 
it is a confolation however that you are advanc¬ 
ing in improvement, and you have the flattering 
profpecl that your children will be lefs expofed to 
thefe perils than yourfelves. What thefe perils, 
are, the experience of the laft winter has depict¬ 
ed in colours which the pencil of defcription could 
only dilute and weaken. The treafures of com¬ 
mercial opulence, the Ihelter of honeft induftry, 
the folemn temple of Almighty God, have alter¬ 
nately fallen within the ruffian grafp of infatiate 
ruin. Would to heaven this were the worfl: !— 
Daughters of the land ! If virtuous fenfibility 
could affume a form and appear in perfon here, 
Gie would only be the JoveiieA of women : If ten- 
dernefs has a throne of glory upon earth, it is in 
the heart of a mother—Lovely women ! tender 
mothers! will you forgive me, for renewing the 
pang which thrill’d in your bofoms, when the de- 
ftroying angel laid his hand upon the helplefs in¬ 
nocence of infancy ?—Yes ! the tear that Heals 
from your eyes is a tear of compaffion and not of 
bitternefs; it is the pledge that henceforth your 
irrefiflible influence will unite with that of all 
our public-fpirited citizens, to redeem the future 
generations from this impending fwordof deftruc- 


»T» —.. 

AMERICANS ! to infill long upon an appeal to 
your liberality, would betray an unworthy and 
unmerited diftruil of your characters as chriftians: 
you know that alms to fullering indigence conffi- 
tute one of the moll effential attributes of that uni- 
Verfal charity, to inculcate which the Saviour of 
mankind appeared upon earth. Immortal life to 
all, was his doctrine : Brotherly love to all, was 
his precept. Thefe he preach’d in word ; thefe 
he fanction’d by miracles ; for thefe he died Upon 
the crofs. Well might thefe at his birth, be an¬ 
nounced to the world, as glad tidings of great 
joy, by the voice of an angel! Well might a mul¬ 
titude of the heavenly hoft then proclaim glory 
to God in the higheft, for this promife of im¬ 
mortality—Peace on earth, good will towards 
men, by this new bond of fraternal affedlion ! 
Search all the llores of antient wifdom ; ranfack 
all the chambers of modern philofophy; and 
where can be found two united difcoveries, tend¬ 
ing to promote the great end and aim of human 
delires, human happinefs, like this combination 
of uni verfal harmony here below, with eternal 
and boundlefs felicity hereafter r 

It has been urged by fome of the adverfaries 
of chriftian-ity, that its tenets are too refined and 
exalted for the imperfeTion of human nature : 
That its fublimeft lelfons “ play round the head 
but come not to the heart” of its votaries : That 


its principles nave not been proved by the prac¬ 
tice of its adherents, and that from the natural 
perverfencfs of mankind, its divine benevolence 
has been the fource of the moll atrocious cruel¬ 
ties, its perfect purity, the fountain of the fouled 
pollutions. To this objection, the general an- 
fwer is not difficult, but its developement belongs 
to other times and other hands. The influence 
of chriftianity has been counteracted but never 
luppreffed by the depravity of man. Its benign 
operation though incomplete has been fignal, 
upon whole ages, nations, and generations—Still 
more inllrumental has it been at all times in foft- 
ening and improving the hearts of individuals. 
Even in thefe days of fcepticifm and infidelity 
there is not one of us, my friends, but could de- 
fignate by name, men, whofe virtues are purified 
and whofe general practice is guided by the gen¬ 
uine principles of chriftianity.—Of fuch a man, 
your fociety, gentlemen, in common with the 
multitude of your fellow citizens, deeply deplore 
the recent lofs.—An account of the life and cha¬ 
racter of that excellent perfon has already been 
delivered in public from this place, by the play¬ 
mate of his childhood, the companion of his 
youth, the intimate friend of his riper years ; 
and after that tribute of affeclion and refpect, no 
additional information will be expected from one. 
who, though fufficiently favoured with his ac- 


quaintance and friendfhip to have been imprefs’d 
profoundly with admiration of his virtues and 
talents, in a comparative view can only fpeak of 
him with the voice of a ftranger : Yet it would 
be inexcufable on this occaiion to leave unnotic¬ 
ed the merits of him, who was one of the firft 
founders of your inflitution ; by whofe death 
you were bereft of your Prefident, and who as a 
man, as a citizen,as a magiflrate, as a name of high 
literary eminence, was an ornament to the coun¬ 
try which gave him birth. Of his domeftic vir¬ 
tues, of his petfonal and focial accomplifhments, 
I can fay, but what is known to many of you, 
Gentlemen, better than to myfelf. Are you an 
obferver of men, and has it been vour fortune only 
once in your life to behold George Richards 
Minot ? You have remarked the elegance of his 
perfon and the peculiar charm of expreftion in 
his countenance—Have you witnelfed his deport¬ 
ment ? It bore the marks of graceful fimplicity, 
of dignified modefty, of unalfuming urbanity— 
Have you likened to his converfation ? It was the 
voice of harmony ; „ it was the index to a pene¬ 
trating and accurate mind ; it was the echo to a 
warm and generous heart. Such appeared Mr. 
Minot, on a firft and tranfient acquaintance; 
from which period, to that of the moil confiden¬ 
tial intimacy, our own knowledge, and the un¬ 
varied teilimony of indifputable authority 



concur in affirming that every trace of pleafing 
firft impreffion was proportionally deepened; ev¬ 
ery anticipation of fterling worth abundantly ful¬ 
fill’d. His character, as the citizen of a free coun¬ 
try, was not lefs exemplary. The profound- 
eft hiftorian of antiquity has addueed the life of 
Agricola, as an extraordinary proof that it is 
poffible to be a great and good man, even under 
the defpotifm of the worft of Princes. Mr. Mi¬ 
not’s example may be alledged as a demonftra- 
tion equally rare under a free republic, that in 
times of the greateft diffenfion, and amidft the 
moft virulent rancour of factions, a man may be 
great and good, and yet acquire and preferve the 
efteem and veneration of all. In the bitternefs 
of civil contention, he enjoyed the joint applaufe 
of minds the moft irreconcileable to each other. 
Before the mufic of his character the very fcor- 
pions drop’d from the lafti of difcord ; the very 
fnakes of fadion liftened and funk afleep ! Yet 
did he not purchafe this unanimous approbation 
by the facrifice of any principle at the fhrine of 
popularity. From that double tongued candour 
which fafhions its dodrines to its company; 
from that cowardice in the garb of good nature, 
which affents to all opinions becaufe it dares fup- 
port none ; from that obfequious egotifm, ever 
ready to bow before the idol of the day, to make 
man its God, and hold the voice of mortality for 
the voice of heaven, he was pure as the cryftal 



ftreams. Perfonal invectives and odious imputa¬ 
tions againft political adverfaries he knew to be 
feldom neceffary ; he knew that when unneceffa- 
ry, whether exhibited in the difgufting deformi¬ 
ty of their nakednefs, or tricked out in the gor¬ 
geous decorations of philofophy, whether livid 
with the cadaverous colours of their natural com¬ 
plexion or flaring with the cofmetic wafhes of 
pretended patriotifm, they are ever found a- 
mong the profligate proftitutes of party, and 
not among the veftal virgins of truth. He dif- 
dained to ufe them : but as to all the great quef- 
tions upon principle which are at the bottom of 
our divifions, there was no more concealment or 
difguife in his lips, than hefitation or wavering in 
his mind. So far was he from courting the pre¬ 
judices or compromiflng with the claims of fac¬ 
tion, that he publifhed the hiftory of the infurrec- 
tions in this commonwealth, at a time when the 
paflions which had produced them, were ftill vig¬ 
orous and flourifhing : and although nothing 
contributed more than that work to conflgn the 
rebellion it recorded, to infamy, none of it’s nu¬ 
merous abettors ever raifed a reclamation againft 
the veracity of the hiftory, or the worth of the 

the community to which fuch a man as this 
belongs, confer honor upon themfelves by every 
token of diftinftion they beftow upon him. Mr. 



Minot was fuccefiively employed in various offi¬ 
ces of trull and of honor. To vice a merciful 
but inflexible judge; to misfortune a compaf- 
fionate friend ; to the widow, a protector of her 
rights ; to'the orphan, one in place of a father : 
in every ftation which the voice of his country cal¬ 
led him alternately to fill, he difplayed that indi¬ 
vidual endowment of the mind and that peculiar 
virtue of the heart, which was mod effential to 
the ufeful exercife of its functions. During the 
latter period of his life, his occupations were 
multiplied beyond the performance of an ordina¬ 
ry man. He not only accomplifhed them all with 
facility, but found hours of leifure for his favour¬ 
ite ftudious purfuits, and hours of relaxation for 
the enjoyments of focial intercourfe and convi¬ 
vial feftivity. — V f 

His attainments in literature outflripp’d the 
flow advance of years; in the bloom of youth 
he was affociated to the American Academy of 
Arts and Sciences, and the Hifcorical Society re¬ 
cognize in him one of their founders. Of his oc- 
cafional performances, it may be faid without dis¬ 
paragement to others, that there is little difficulty 
in diflinguifhing their charatleriflic excellence. 
His Oration on the 5th of March; his Eulogy 
on the firfl of American patriots and heroes, and 
his addrefs to your fociety, from the fpot whence 
this feeble tribute to his memory is now offered, 
deferve a particular enumeration among the pro- 


duCtions of his mind. He had an ardent and In- 
extinguifhable thirft of general knowledge ; but 
the department of hiftory was that towards which 
fome cafual incident, of thofe which are wont to 
point the magnet of genius to its polar ftar, had 
originally turned the bias of his preference. • The 
refult of his labours in this field, is chiefly before 
the public, and is duly appreciated by all who 
deem any fuch labours objects of regard. As an 
hiftorian, authenticity, impartiality, penetration 
and fagacity,are obvious characters of his writings. 
His narrative is perfpicuous ; his arrangement 
well delineated : he traces events to their caufes, 
with difcriminating eye, and though fparing of 
his own reflections upon their iffue, he fkilfully 
collects and concentrates their rays upon the 
mind of his reader. He makes no oflentatious 
difplay of his moral and intellectual wealth, but 
gives you the key to the chambers containing 
them : It is but opening the door, and treafures 
in profufion are before you. His feleCtion of fub- 
jeCts was dictated by a vigorous judgment, and a 
well meditated fenfe of utility. The infurreCtions 
of the year 1786, form one of the moft inftruCtivc 
periods in the hiftory of our country. Occafions 
like that, elicit and difplay many of the virtues 
and vices, accomplifliments and defeCts of public 
bodies and private individuals, of conftitutions 
and conflituted authorities, which remain latent 
in times of cooler compofure. The younger part 

of our fellow-citizens efpecially, will find them- 
ielves amply rewarded for any time and medita¬ 
tion beftowed upon that work. It will giye them 
a deeper infight into the character of this people, 
a more extenfive view of our focial organization, 
and its internal operations at critical times, than 
they could obtain by years of perfonal obferva- 
tion. The progrefs of colliflons in public fenti- 
ment, until they kindle into civil war, in a coun¬ 
try where public fentiment is the final earthly ar¬ 
biter of all public meafures, and where the efficacy 
of obedience is in ordinary times fecured by the 
mildnefs of authority, there reveals a precious 
mine to the fearch of contemplation. There a 
citizen of Maffachufetts may learn not to defpair 
of public virtue, even when apparently extin- 
guifhed by the violence of party, and the preffure 
of dihrefs. There an American may be inform¬ 
ed that our Conftitutions have within them a 
principle of felf-prefervation, beyond the letter of 
the law, which can redeem them from diffolution 
even when apparently fuffocated by the over¬ 
whelming torrents of faction. 

the revolution which feparated thefe States 
from their connection as Colonies with Great 
Britain, and their fubfequent confederation, have 
taken from our local hiftory fome of its magni¬ 
tude and moment. Thefe events have expanded 
the circle, and increafed the multitude of our ci- 

2 3 

vil relations. In forming the idea of our coun¬ 
try, we are no longer bounded by the fcanty di- 
mentions Gf a petty province. The largeft por¬ 
tion of this Continent is united under a focial 
compact, which makes its inhabitants equal fel¬ 
low-citizens of one great and growing empire. 
To preferve, to ftrengthen, to perpetuate this 
union, is the nrft political duty, as it ought to be 
the higheft glory of every American. Since its 
eftablifhment our hillory has become the hiftory 
of the nation: and had it been confident with 
the wife decrees of Providence to prolong the life 
of Mr. Minot, we might have hoped that the 
period which came within the compafs of his oh- 
fervation, would have been tranfmitted to future 
times, with that fimplicity and purity of ftyle and 
manner, that zeal for the civil and religious liber¬ 
ties of man, that inftinctive and reflected love of 
virtue and abhorrence of vice, which flowed fpon- 
taneoufly from his pen. , But before he could 
commence upon this arduous talk, there was a 
previous chafm in our hiftory to be filled. It was 
a period of lefs general interefl than thofe which 
preceded and followed it; lefs propitious there¬ 
fore to the talents and reputation of its hifiorian* 
But Mr. Minot’s primary coniideration was the 
public utility, and not his own perfonal fame.— 
It was a labour inadequate indeed to his powers* 
but neceflary to connect the chain of our annals; 
andunlefs undertaken by him, it might have re- 

mained unaccomplilhed, Of this work, one vo¬ 
lume is in pofieflion of the public. He was juft 
doling the fecond, when the pen was wrefted 
from his hand, by that king of terrors, whom 
the moft elevated human capacity and the moft 
perfect human virtues are alike impotent to refill. 

my countrymen ! When memory turns a re- 
trofpeclive eye upon the days that are paft, how 
Ihort is the fpace, before fhe meets the venerable 
forms of a Clarke, a Belknap, and a Minot ! 
When fhe returns and fearches with anxious 
look, once more to find them in the ranks, among 
the living friends of fcience, of virtue and of 
man, fhe feeks in vain ! They are here no more'! 
Where can we look for fupport under fuch reite¬ 
rated and heavy blows, but to the pillars of ftoic 
fortitude ? Where can we hope for comfort un¬ 
der fuch great and multiplied bereavements, but 
in the arms of chriftian refignation ? It is not for 
man to queftion or fcrutinize the difpenfations of 
his Maker. Unavailing lamentation is inconfift- 
ent with the dignity of our nature : It is incom¬ 
patible with the duties of our religion.—Sainted 
fpirits of our ahlent friends !—If from the abodes 
of bleftednefs, the fpirits of the juft, made perfect, 
are permitted to look down upon this dreary 
fcene of human life, and to influence the conduct 
of their former partners of mortality, call us away 
from the contemplation of our lofs, by alluring us 
to the imitation of your virtues ! As the Grecian 


Iculptor propofedby the duffel to convert Mount 
Athos into the ftatue of a mortal hero, may the 
holy mountain of our nation and country bear 
throughout its extent the lineaments of your im¬ 
mortal minds! If we have not yet learnt to preferve 
the features and honour the memory of departed 
excellence in monumental marble, may your ex¬ 
ample by its operation upon the hearts of the ri- 
fing generation, erect the fabric of your fame on 
a bails flronger than of earth ; on foundations 
more durable than the everlafling hills ! May we 
learn of you to combine in happy union, iincere 
devotion with enlightened philofophy ; the fervid 
love of freedom with the chaflened difcipline of 
good order ; true chriftian meeknefs of fpirit 
" with intrepid boldnefs in the caufe of truth ; mild 
companion for the guilty with inflexible cppofi- 
tion to guilt ; glowing patriotifm with univerfal 
philanthropy ! So iliall fome emanations of your 
exalted chara&ers remain to lateft time on earth ! 
So fhall the kindly radiance of your memory here, 
point the way to your cloucllefs effulgence in the 
. flues ! 


<Soforaimcnc of tfje gwietp, 


ARNOLD WELLES, Jun. Efq. Prefidcnt, 

Hon. WILLIAM TUDOR, Efq. Vice-Prefident. 

Rev. Mr. JAMES FREEMAN, Correfponding Secretary. 
WILLIAM ALLINE, Efq. Recording Secretary. 

Mr. DAVID WEST, Treafurer. 

Rev. Samuel Stillman , D. D. 
Rev. 'John Eliot , D. D. 

JVLr. James White, 

Mr. Shubael Belli 


Dr. JoJh ita Thomas, 

Mr. Thomas K. Jones, 
JoJiah Quincy, Efq. 
Mr. Jofeph Callender. 

STATE OF THE FUNDS, MAY *8, 1802, Viz. 

a8i Shares in the Union Bank, at 8 dollars, - - 2248 CO 

MalFachufetts State Note, - -- -- -- 33333 

Six Per Cent Stock, - -- -- -- -- 2000 00 

Eight Per Cent Stock, - -.1000 00 

Caih, - -- -- -- -- -- -- - 14 43 

Dollars , S595 7 6 


Thomas Harris, - - 

Ephraim Hutchinfon, 
Mary Emery, - - 

Mary Bethel, - - 

Jofeph Churchill, 
Samuel Alh, - - - 

Michael Lynch, - - 

- - - 30 Dlls. 

- - - 20 

- - - 20 

. - -- 10 

- - - 50 

- 50 

- - - 15 

Dollars 19 5